Unrefined Shea Butter vs. Refined Shea Butter

Posted by on 8/16/2017 to Ingredient Knowledge

Shea butter is an amazing, versatile addition to your skin care routine, but did you know there are different kinds of shea butter? Do you know the difference between unrefined shea butter vs. refined shea butter?

I only use the unrefined shea butter and I recommend you do as well. Here’s why.

What’s the Difference?

It’s all in the processing.

All shea butter is extracted from the karite (shea) tree that grows naturally and sustainable in the savanna regions of Africa.

Refined shea butter is extracted with high heat and the help of synthetic chemical solvents. Solvents remove some naturally occurring properties and the end product is refined shea that bright white and odorless. Most mainstream shea butter products contain refined shea. It’s relatively heat stable and has a long shelf life.

Unrefined shea butter is traditionally processed by African women without the use of synthetics or chemicals. The resulting butter is very high in antioxidants, can range in color from beige to light yellow and has a naturally occurring smokey or nutty aroma.

Traditionally processed unrefined shea butter is often referred to as Woman’s Gold because of the economic opportunities processing it brings to the local community.

Skin Care Benefits

Refined shea butter is a good moisturizer.

This shea provides a nice occlusive barrier that keeps hydration in your skin where it belongs, but since it’s been refined to remove the natural color and aroma, some of the additional skin care benefits are lost.

Unrefined shea butter is one of nature’s best moisturizers and has the same (if not better) moisturizing benefits, but unrefined shea in its natural state goes further and truly helps your skin look healthy, vibrant and balanced in a number of ways.

  • Unrefined shea butter improves the appearance of aging by improving the look of elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It evens tone by improving the appearance of stretch marks, the appearance of hyperpigmentation and the appearance of acne scars.
  • Unrefined shea butter has been used to provide mild natural sun protection due to higher antioxidant content.
  • Its also been traditionally used as a salve due to natural anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Unrefined shea butter is pretty amazing.

In an effort to use skin care ingredients in their most natural form and always remain mindful of what goes on my skin, selecting unrefined shea butter vs refined shea butter is an easy decision.

How do you know if your product contains unrefined shea butter?

It should say so on the label. At Astrida Naturals all of our products are made with organic, unrefined shea butter and we love all the beneficial properties it transfers to our skin care line. We'd never consider any other!

Have you seen a difference in your skin since using unrefined shea butter?

Unrefined Shea Butter vs. Refined Shea Butter